Contact: Andrew Ammirati
March 22, 2012
Last October, Joseph Ciancola, a 20-year-old baseball player from Orange collapsed on a University of Rhode Island athletic field during a strength and conditioning workout and died three days later.
His mother, Michele Ciancola can only wonder if her son’s life could have been saved if emergency responders had access to an automated external defibrillator, or AED. Tragically, she’ll never know.
Now Ciancola is supporting legislation proposed by state Senator Gayle Slossberg (D-Milford), vice chairwoman of the Public Health Committee, that would require placement of an AED in athletic facilities at college campuses where the device would be readily available to athletes. The proposed language also mandates that athletic trainers get trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the use of an AED in accordance with standards set by the American Red Cross or American Heart Association.
“Joey was strong and fought hard, but lost his battle three days later at Rhode Island Hospital, an untimely death that could have been prevented if proper protocol and equipment (AED and thermistor) were in place,” Cianola stated in her testimony. She said her son’s autopsy was negative for any pre-existing medical conditions.
Each year, 300,000 people in the United States including children and young adults suffer sudden cardiac arrest, which is a leading cause of death here. On average, only one in 20 victims of sudden cardiac arrest survives, but the use of early defibrillation could save many of those lives, according to the American Red Cross.
“No parent should have to experience what Michele has gone through. The tragic and unnecessary loss of this wonderful young man could have, and should have, been prevented,” Senator Slossberg said. “We must work to ensure that no other family suffers the loss of a child from a death that could have been prevented.”
Three years ago the legislature overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan bill requiring automated external defibrillators in schools and mandating training on the life-saving equipment. This proposed legislation, which is part of House Bill 5514 An Act Concerning Various Revisions to the Public Health Statutes, would expand that requirement to athletic facilities at college campuses.
The legislation identifies specific athletic department premises that would be subject to the law—any premises used for intercollegiate sport practice, training or competition, including an athletic building or room, gymnasium, athletic field or stadium. The bill also requires placement of AEDs in health clubs.
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